Revitalisation of the Textile industry
26 May 2021
03 November 2023
Cotton is one of the most important export products for the Senegalese agricultural industry. The cotton sector is well structured and supported by two large organisations that work closely together: the National Federation of Cotton Producers (FNPC) organises production operations and represents more than 1,800 farmers’ organisations, while the Senegalese Textile Fibres and Development Company (Sodefitex) focuses on developing the textile industry and organising the cotton trade. Thanks to the efforts of these organisations, most of the cotton produced in Senegal today already complies with sustainability standards such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the standards defined by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
At the same time, production has declined significantly over the last few years, due to cotton price instability on the global market and competition from regions with highly mechanised production systems – for example Asia and the United States. A lack of rainfall has also served to reduce harvest yields, thereby driving up prices for Senegalese cotton. Senegal currently only produces 20 per cent of the estimated 60,000 tonnes of cotton that it is capable of producing each year.
The effects of the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a change in thinking among industrial companies and the retail sector, however, and Senegal now plans to make itself more independent by creating new value chains that will enable it to exploit the potential of the entire continent.
In order to support Senegal with its efforts in this regard, the Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" is working with German and international partners to implement measures that include training for cotton farmers, the procurement of equipment for mechanising the agricultural sector and improving harvests, and a programme for revitalising two textile companies – Domitexka and NSTS, in Thiès and Kaolack.
The goals of the joint project now under way are to restructure the Senegalese textile industry in order to safeguard its long-term success and develop a vertically integrated production approach that covers both cotton production and local manufacturing of ready-made garments.
A study conducted by Invest for Jobs, the Senegalese investment agency APIX and the Gesamtverband der deutschen Maschenindustrie Gesamtmasche e.V. (Association of German Knitted Fabric Manufacturers) shows that Senegal has great potential as a niche market for the sale of organic cotton. The Senegalese Government is also interested in increasing cotton production. Among other things, the government subsidises production to ensure a competitive price on the world market.
Sodefitex and the FNPC, the two partners from the Senegalese textile industry, have already drawn up a project plan that will incorporate at least 2,000 farmers into the process for implementing a sustainable and environmentally friendly cotton strategy. Among other things, plans call for locally produced cotton to no longer be processed in Asia, which has previously been the case, but instead at factories operated by the two textile companies Domitexka and NSTS in Kaolack and Thiès. Participants in a field visit to those factories found European spinning machines, looms and knitting machines from the 1980s. The factories are now being completely overhauled in order to obtain the necessary certifications. The modernisation measures at the two facilities will create around 950 new jobs between now and 2022.
Investors from abroad are using the network created by the project to examine possibilities for establishing a local clothing industry to complete the value chain. Gesamtmasche e.V. is acting as an advisor throughout the process.
Some 2,000 farmers between Kaolack and Tambacounda are currently switching over to organic cotton production. The goal here is to triple cotton and organic cotton production in accordance with the principles of the Better Cotton Initiative by 2022 – to 240 and 150 tonnes, respectively. Plans also call for project members to cooperate with the Senegalese Government on the development of a production strategy for the next ten years.
In addition, the project members are working with the company Manobi on the development of a digital traceability application for the cotton industry. This application will make it possible to track, document and visualise all production steps – from harvesting in the cotton field to fibre processing and final shipment. The Senegalese company Zintex, which is located near Dakar, is currently building the Dakar Design Hub with the help of Invest for Jobs. The Design Hub will be a creative centre where approximately 300 young men and women will receive training and 200 jobs will be created.
The complete package of approaches being utilised in the project will ensure that all essential elements of the local value chain are in place over the medium term.
Project Fact Sheet
The project for the Revitalisation of the Senegalese Textile Industry is supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in the context of Invest for Jobs on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
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